The Kids Menu

Whenever my family and I go to a restaurant, there is always The Kids Menu, which is made up of hamburgers, chicken nuggets, grilled cheese and french fries. I get it, kids love to eat that stuff, as do adults sometimes, which makes complete sense if you are dining out at Friendly’s or your local burger joint. However, if you go out to an ethnic restaurant, don’t you think the Kids Menu should have similar dishes as the adult menu, in just smaller portions instead of being restricted to typical American fare? It makes me so angry when I see hamburgers listed on an Asian kids menu!

Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche

Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche

Is it that difficult to believe that kids can enjoy other types of food besides macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets and hot dogs?  They can, we just have to let them explore food as we let them explore the rest of their world, from sports to music to the books they read and the toys they play with! Food is beautiful! We are so lucky here in America to be surrounded by so many nutritious and delicious varieties of food. Why limit ourselves or our beautiful children to just macaroni and cheese?

nm_yogurt_granola_fruit_08123_mn

One of the most important things that I have learned about being a mom, is to always protect my children and this doesn’t just mean to protect them against bullies or helping them cross the street safely. It’s more than that. I vowed to protect their well being, emotionally, physically and mentally. This means, I have to help them make sound, smart decisions about the food they eat, the activities they participate in, the friends they associate with and the time they spend learning and growing.

fresh produce

Our children are miracles, they are our little creations and they should be well-nourished mentally and physically. It’s important to teach them about what’s right and wrong and about what they are putting into their little, growing bodies. This is their fuel, their mind and body use what they eat to help them grow into strong, healthy, motivated, smart adults one day.

It isn’t easy being a parent, all of the decisions we make in our lives will touch their lives, so it’s important to try our very best to make the best possible decisions we can. Besides, the more we learn about the world around us, the more we will grow mentally, emotionally and physically and this will keep our minds and bodies growing healthy and strong, which means more years here on earth to enjoy with our beautiful, healthy children.

My three beautiful children, as they should be, "in love with each other"

My three beautiful children, as they should be, “in love with each other”

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Smoothies

Maybe this is MY way of hoping Spring and Summer will be here soon. Frankly, I have had enough of the cold and snow. I am ready for the warmth of the sun and wearing my flip flops!

spring sunrise

Smoothies are a favorite snack here in our house, especially for Lilliana. We have one of those little “bullet” type of blenders  which makes it super easy and quick to make a smoothie when she gets home from school. It’s a lot of fun experimenting with different fruits and vegetables. Smoothies are so versatile, so delicious and so very good for you. Her favorite is the Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie, which is also Lucas’ favorite. Since I love berries, my favorite it the Very Berry Smoothie. I buy a bag of frozen mixed organic berries, throw in a frozen banana, some almond milk and flax seed  and it tastes just like a sorbet.

Smoothies

Yesterday, Lilliana tried a new recipe for an Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie and it really tasted just like an oatmeal cookie, without any added sugar, sweetened naturally with the frozen banana, raisins and cinnamon.

oatmeal smoothie

Join me in welcoming Spring with these great tasting smoothie recipes!

Are you REALLY happy?

Today, I read this GREAT article. It reminded me to try my best to appreciate what I DO HAVE instead of thinking about all the BAD STUFF that has happened in our life and all the things that I DO NOT HAVE! I hope it will help you feel a little happier about your life too, even on this cold, dark day.

By Chiara Fucarino

There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, walking around with a spring in every step. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: how do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …

1. Don’t hold grudges.

Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

2. Treat everyone with kindness.

Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.

3. See problems as challenges.

The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.

4. Express gratitude for what they already have.

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.

5. Dream big.

People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.

7. Speak well of others.

Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.

8. Never make excuses.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.

9. Get absorbed into the present.

Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.

10. Wake up at the same time every morning.

Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.

11. Avoid social comparison.

Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.

12. Choose friends wisely.

Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.

13. Never seek approval from others.

Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.

14. Take the time to listen.

Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.

15. Nurture social relationships.

A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.

16. Meditate.

Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.

17. Eat well.

Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.

18. Exercise.

Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.

19. Live minimally.

Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.

20. Tell the truth.

Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.

21. Establish personal control.

Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.

22. Accept what cannot be changed.

Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.